Retailer Wine Selections: Cabernet Sauvignon

NOTE: This story contains additional wine reviews that were not included in the September/October issue of Beverage Dynamics.


For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend some of their favorite cabernet sauvignons. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Jeremy Nedelka at 203-855-8499 x213, or email him at






(97) Buccella Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A small production cult wine; deep purple, opaque in color with concentrated black currant, licorice, exhibiting intense and floral characteristic. ($150)


(97) Alexander Valley Vineyards CYRUS 2010 (California). Done in the meritage style (Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec); winemaker Kevin Hall uses only eight very select barrel aged lots for his final cuvee; aged 12 month in French oak and additional eight months aging in the bottle; incredible. ($65)


(97) J.Lohr Hilltop Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). A beautiful, harmonious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Syrah from prime vineyard sites; aged 18 months in oak; smooth, balanced, full-bodied, with rich layers of cherries and blackberries. ($40)


(96) Nth Degree Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Sourced from Wente’s best estate vineyard sites, and meticulously “ultra farmed,” this is a rich, elegant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot; rich black cherry flavors dominate, with a subtle hint of mocha; seamless till the end and very balanced through the finish; spectacular. ($132)


(96) Cade Winery Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). This 100 % estate grown Cabernet is loaded with aromas blueberry, blackberry and plums; big, bold and elegant; the finish is nicely balanced and lingers for minutes. ($170)


(96) Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2011 (Italy). Supremely elegant and fine, the wine exudes class on the nose and palate; lots of red fruit, with notes of spice help emphasize the wine’s pedigree; very satisfying now, the wine will certainly benefit from medium term aging. ($57)


(95) Alexander Valley Vineyards Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Older, low-yield vines produce very intense concentrated fruit; 100% Cabernet sauvignon; aged almost two years in premium French oak barrels; a very big wine, rich and chewy, with dark fruit, tobacco and semi-sweet chocolate flavors. ($45)


(95) Daou Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This full-bodied wine displays black fruits, cassis, wild herbs and earthy notes with ripe, rich tannins; grown at the highest elevation in Paso Robles shows the great complexity of the area. ($30)


(95) Fattoria di Felsina Maestro Raro Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Italy). Cherry, black currant, cedar and coffee aromas leads you into the intense flavors with refined structure; ripe and focused tannins provide grip; tobacco spice notes. ($60)


(95) Caymus 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A delicious celebration of Napa Valley Cabernet; rich and robust berry fruit, with balanced tannins marry together for a truly silky finish. ($73)


(95) Long Shadows Feather Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Washington State). Dark fruits with a hint of chocolate, this is a rich full-bodied wine with a luxurious texture. ($60)


(95) Ahnfeldt Provocative Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Gorgeous bouquet of lilacs, roses and ripe black fruits; flavors of blueberry, black currant and plum abound with just a touch of toasted oak; tannins are supple; this wine is absolutely enjoyable now. ($40)


(95) Poggio al Tesoro, Sondraia Bolgheri Superiore 2011 (Italy). From Tuscany, this Cabernet dominant blend combines elegance and power; the 18 months in oak, contributes a spiciness to the red and black fruit notes; the taste is fresh and clean, with a long and elegant finish; a highly polished wine that will pair with a wide range of meats, cheeses, and other foods. ($55)

(95) Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011(Washington State). Most of the grapes, used to produce this outstanding wine, came from the established Cold Creek vineyard; the wine is rich and powerful, with a great deal of elegance; dark fruit is accented by spice, on the nose and palate; delicious now, make sure to age some as well. ($48)


(95) Artesa Estate Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). From one of Napa Valley’s top flight properties, this Cabernet exhibits dark fruit and power; the fermentation and aging in oak contribute spice and structure; a very fine wine, enjoyable now, but with potential to age gracefully. ($46)


(95) Robert Mondavi Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Dark in the glass, with plenty of dark fruit notes on the nose, the wine is rich, with hints of spice and herbs; an exceptionally long finish, with great balance. ($45)


(95) Elderton Ashmead Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Australia). This wine is exceptionally concentrated, with plush black fruit; the mouthfeel and finish are outstanding, and examples of world-class Australian winemaking; a real keeper, as well as a wine that’s showing superbly well now. ($104)


(95) Chateau Franc Coutelin Saint-Estephe Bordeaux 2009 (France). Blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot; the Cabernet is most evident with aromas and flavors of black cherry, currant and blackberry; a note of toasted oak on the finish along with firm tannins.($30) (Victoire Imports, Sonoma, CA)


(95) Root:1 Colchagua Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Chile). From ungrafted vines of original European rootstock that have never been blighted by phylloxera; bold, rich varietal aromas and flavors in a ripe, mouth-filling, and easy-to-enjoy style; richness, quality and value. ($13) (Winebow, NY, NY)


(95) True Grit Reserve Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). This is Parducci’s reserve level Cabernet Sauvignon; 18 months in French and American oak add a vanilla softness to the mix; small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Syrah add richness; beautiful cherry and cassis aromas finish out the wine. ($39) (Parducci)


(95) Carmen Gold Reserve Maipo Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Chile). A big, hearty Chilean Cab; lots of oak and vanilla overtones with deep blackberry fruit; balanced tannins from this warm weather region. ($75) (Trinchero)


(95) Flanagan Family Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Ripe and concentrated fruit; cassis and vanilla on the nose; unusually soft tannins for such a powerful Cabernet. ($85)


(94) Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Juicy cab with smooth tannins and deep layers of oak, black fruit and mocha; high alcohol makes a bit hot; decant to enjoy the complexity or cellar. ($60)


(94) Rutherford Ranch Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). An intriguing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec; aged 14 months in oak; rich and chewy, with dark chocolate, vanilla and black fruit flavors; very subtle finish; an elegant wine at a great price point. ($30)


(94) Wente Charles Wetmore Livermore Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This estate vineyard is named for the gentleman who helped develop the area in the late 1800s by bring cutting from some of the best vineyards in Bordeaux; in that same style, this Cabernet Sauvignon has small amounts of Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot added for intense complexity; aged 14 months in French and American oak; over-delivers in terms of value and quality. ($36)


(94) Frisson Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A classic Napa Valley Cabernet; very balanced, with dark rich fruit, and a nutty hint of dark chocolate; restrained tannins, and a moderate alcohol level make for an elegant wine. ($75)


(94) Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This wine pairs a vibrant purple color with expressive aromas of blackberries and cassis; richly textured on the palate, this wine’s robust tannins provide a frame for black cherry flavors and spicy notes of vanilla and cloves; air this with your favorite burger off the grill. ($23)


(94) Ironside Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A big, elegant classy wine with lots of fruit, friendly tannins and structure; great value. ($18)


(94) Hess Allomi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This single vineyard Cabernet from one of the Valley’s best known wineries is full of rich black and red fruit; dark ruby in the glass, with plenty of richness on the nose and palate; hints of spice and tannin provide a backbone for the fruit to surround; the finish is well balanced, and quite lengthy. ($30)


(94) Michael Mondavi Emblem Oso Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). This exceptional single vineyard Cabernet is produced from grapes grown high above the valley floor, which contributes a freshness and structure that complements the abundant fruit; plenty of black and red fruit is accented by spice and toasty notes; a wonderful long and balanced finish. ($60)


(94) Viña Los Vascos Le Dix de Los Vascos 2011 (Chile). The Le Dix is produced from very old vine Cabernet, from the estate’s original vineyard; the vineyard contributes a dark, lush fruitiness, and the 18 months in oak add an appealing spiciness and texture; hints of chocolate add to the wine’s complexity; it finishes with a luxurious mouthfeel, and balance. ($60)


(93) Cosentino Barrel Select Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). This Cabernet exhibits a great deal of lush black and red fruit; the oak aging contributes spice and texture, making the wine more complex and complete; lots of weight, texture and delicious fruit add up to a well-crafted and balanced wine. ($50)


(93) Familia Zuccardi Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Argentina). From one of the premier family operations, in the Mendoza region, this is an outstanding example of what an Argentinean Cabernet can be; the grapes are sourced from vineyard over a half mile in altitude, contributing elegance and backbone; the concentrated black fruits on the nose and palate contribute to the complexity and richness, accented by spice; the extended finish is well balanced. ($20)


(93) Parallel Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). An outstanding example of Napa Valley Cabernet; plenty of dark fruit on the nose and palate; dark in the glass, the richness of the wine makes it exceptionally appealing; an interesting brightness and spicy aspect to the wine; great with a wide variety of foods, or to enjoy on its own. ($72)


(93) Decoy Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot; alluring black cherry and raspberry jam aromas, as well as more subtle notes of nutmeg, spice and chocolate; on the palate, lovely layers of raspberry and plum are supported by excellent structure and seamlessly integrated oak. ($23) (Duckhorn)


(93) Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Aromas of dark cherry, red plum and blackberry are integrated with the spicy sweetness of oak, cedar, cinnamon, clove and toast; the body is full with a soft entry, coupled with dark cherry/berry flavors; great texture and mouthfeel, this Cabernet is full bodied, rich and opulent. ($42)


(93) Napa Wine Company Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). This single vineyard wine soars with extensive aromas and flavors of blackberries, leather, dried leaves, and baking spices. Its dazzling, graceful finish is backed up by fine grained tannins. ($42)


(93) Priest Ranch Somerston Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Lots of bright fruit jumps from the glass; elegant and well balanced; long lingering finish. ($45)


(93) Parducci Small Lot Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Parducci’s entry level Cabernet, which over-delivers; all oak aged, with Merlot and Petite Verdot added to the blend; fruit forward, with complex aromas of smoke, pepper and spice; great with BBQ. ($20)


(92) Moniker Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Blending small amounts of Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc to the base Cabernet Sauvignon adds a unique complexity, with layers of flavors; oak aging adds to the mix, with a beautiful perfumed nose, giving it an almost floral quality. ($33)


(92) Stonestreet Alexander Valley Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). This wine is dark purple (almost black), with a mild but fresh bouquet that with time intensifies, displaying rich raspberry and blackberry jam aromas; full-bodied and plush but with plenty of tannin that keeps it firm; ripe red cherry, cranberry and raspberry join in on the palate; the finish is long, and some blueberry and light oak notes pop up in the aftertaste; the ample tannin may require a few more years to even out, but for now a grilled rib-eye will do perfectly. ($50)


(92) Taken Napa Valley Red Blend 2011 (California). A Cab-dominated (60%) blend with a beautiful bouquet that is structured and balanced, showing lovely oak notes mingling with a bevy of black and red fruit aromas and lovely undertones of baking spice; firm on the entry but the tannins are well-integrated so it stays smooth and supple throughout while still showing some heft; juicy red cherry and black cherry lead while lush black currant and plum compote are revealed in the finish. ($30)


(92) Wente Southern Hills Livermore Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot; aged 14 months in an oak/stainless steel program; lush blueberry aromas dominate the nose; beautiful balance of body and acidity; great finish. ($19)



(92) Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (California). Dense currant and black cherry with easy spicy tannins on the finish; a winner, once again. ($25) (Treasury Wine Estates)


(92) Santa Isle Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Chile). Sourced from exclusive vineyards in the Maule Valley, this medium-bodied cabernet shows the classy, suave side of Chile; classic aromas of red fruit, spice box and sage with a very nice balance of ripe and savory flavors; outstanding value. ($20)


(92) Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot are added for complexity; aged in French and American oak for 14 months; rich aromas of plum, cassis and mocha complement rich spice, tobacco and coffee flavors; great value. ($22)


(92) Cross Springs Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A graceful cabernet with concentrated black cherry, ripe currant and plum flavors with vanilla and spice overtones turning smooth and supple; an intense finish with a long, lingering aftertaste showing hints of oak. ($18)


(92) Marc Mondavi’s The Diving Rod Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). The rich plum and hints of blackberry are brought together with a very subtle hint of cocoa; a shining star to accompany a hearty meal, and a great value. ($18)




(91) Peju Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Classy Napa Valley Cab; rich, lush and flavorful with soft tannins on the long finish. ($45)


(91) Cedar Knoll Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Black fruit aroma; flavors of black cherry, plum  and cassis with a touch of cedar; substantial tannins; a long finish. ($45)


(91) Tolosa Vineyards Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Very balanced blend of Cabernet and Merlot, aged 15months in oak; not too heavy or high in alcohol; great texture with pure fruit expression, and a hint of molasses. ($35)


(91) Dominican Oaks Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Beautiful aromas of dark fruit, toasty vanilla and cocoa; with a richly textured mid-palate featuring flavors of blackberries, spice, oak and earth, this wine cascades into a supple, full-bodied finish. ($22)


(91) Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Chile). Aromas of dark berries lead to flavors chocolate and blackberries with hints of vanilla and oak; reat lingering finish. ($12)


(91) Iter Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). With no shortage of layered dark fruits, lavender, and smoke, this Cabernet impresses for its rich flavors that are very well balanced by the structured, crisp finish laced with chewy tannins; a delicious wine that pairs well with food. ($23)


(91) Rock View Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This full-bodied beauty offers up deep, captivating flavors of blackberries, fig, plums, and kirsch liqueur; its robust concentration is balanced on the finish by grainy tannins and spicy oak. ($35)


(90) Oak Ridge Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This silky smooth Cabernet possesses enticing notes of blackberry, cedar, and cinnamon; dense and ripe throughout, it finishes with a rich, velvety texture that deposits additional notes of smoky oak. ($16)


(90) Maggio Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Hints of berry on the nose with hints of oak and ripe fruit on the palate; soft and supple; superb value. ($11)


(90) California Square Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). With plenty of blueberry, licorice, and soft tannins, this is a smooth and supple Cabernet; forward and rich from start, it concludes with an energetic finish. ($17)


(90) B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). New packaging for this classy, medium-bodied red with nice richness and full black fruit flavors; sourced from Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties. ($26)


(90) Annabella Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). A nice value from Michael Pozzan; big dark fruit flavors burst onto the palate immediately offering delicious cherry, plum, black raspberry and cassis; spice is found mid-palate with a hint of mocha leading to a nice long finish with great balance. ($18)


(90) Jim Barry The Cover Drive Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Australia). Firm with juicy black fruit and spicy earthy notes on the finish. ($18)


(90) Gerardo Cesari Duetorri Cabernet Friuli Grave 2012 (Italy). An outstanding example of a non-oak aged Cabernet; the fruit, from one of Italy’s premier wine producing regions, is bright, yet lush and complex; at this price, it’s an exceptional bargain. ($10)


(90) Fog Dog Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). A really nice first effort; flavors of cherry and cassis, medium to full-bodied with a nice texture; 10% Syrah with a noticeable trace of Cabernet Franc ($30). (Joseph Phelps Vineyards)


(89) Maryhill Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Washington State). A real crowd pleaser and a nicely priced wine; medium- bodied with flavors of black fruit and a fine touch of spice on the rich finish. ($17)


(89) Acre Twenty One Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Washington State). Nicely plush yet at the same time restrained, slowly revealing a lovely array of blackberry jam, currant and plum aromas; the plush style follows through on the palate as well and it stays focused on that same dark fruit spectrum while displaying admirable complexity; excellent balance of fruit and tannin, and a moderate but tasty finish. ($13)


(89) Bridlewood Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A structured wine with a firm yet velvety mouthfeel; dark berry fruit are surrounding by subtle bright cherry notes and balanced tannins. ($14) (Gallo)



(89) Folie a Deux Sonoma County Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). The mild bouquet possesses cedary undertones to its ripe red berry aromas; dry and still pretty tannic up front but my mid-palate it smoothes out, with red cherry and raspberry flavors; good structure and intensity; a natural partner for grilled steak. ($25)


(89) B Side Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Black fruit aroma; flavors of plum, black currant and cherry; moderate tannins, and a moderately long finish. ($19)


(88) Seaglass Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). The fruity bouquet is full of black currant aromas with a light tint of oak on the edges; tart black cherry and blueberry open the palate, which is smooth but shows a nice beam of acidity to bolster the structure; good depth. ($13)


(88) Landers-Jenkins Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). The Central coast, Lodi, and even Napa vineyards contribute to this cuvee; delightful blend of Cabernet sauvignon, Zinfande, and Merlot give it a leaner, lighter, fruit-forward style; good value. ($20)


(88) Round Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A harmonius blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel delivers loads of fruit to the palate, with dark fruit flavors, and even a hint of butterscotch; medium bodied and soft tannins keep it very balanced. ($15)


(88) La Forge Estate Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (France). Smooth, medium-bodied with nicely balanced blackberry and vanilla notes; a nice buy from the Languedoc. ($13)


(88) Grady Family Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Black currant, cherries and plums are the dominant flavors, with just a bit of jam on an easy finish. ($15)


(88) Cult Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon NV (California). This Cabernet from Salvestrin Winery in St. Helena features aromas of subtle berry fruits mixed with scents of stone dust and peanut shells; dusty tannins play a supporting role, giving focus to flavors of dark forest berries and dried cherries; uances of licorice and vanilla surface in the abbreviated finish. ($27)


(87) Louis M. Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Black cherry and blackberry aromas meld with faint dusty mineral scents, suggesting there’s more here than simply fruit; this full-bodied Cabernet leans towards earthier, forest berry flavors; huckleberry and cranberry flavors combine with dried cherry and get support from silky, tea-like tannins. ($13)


(87) The Show Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Dark fruit aroma; plum and black cherry and cassis flavors; moderate tannins; medium finish; a good buy. ($24)


(86) Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon NV (California). Smooth with a medium body; easy, affordable drinking with everything food such as beef, lamb, cheddar and chocolate. ($7)


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